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New publication explores changes in energy use

13 September 2012

A new report from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority shows that between 1990 and 2011, energy intensity fell in most business sectors, the residential sector and in some transport modes.

“Demand for energy increases as the population and economy grows. However, at work and at home we are getting more efficient in how we use energy,” said Bryan Field, Manager of MBIE’s Energy Information and Modelling team.

“Energy intensity is the measure of the amount of energy used to provide a given level of activity (population for households, GDP for businesses and passenger and freight movements for transport).

“It is important that we understand the drivers of energy use in New Zealand because energy efficiency is one of the four priorities of the Government’s energy strategy. Specific targets relating to economy-wide and business energy intensity and light vehicle energy efficiency are contained in the New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy.

“A growing economy puts upward pressure on energy consumption, but the structure of the economy has shifted towards less energy intensive sectors. This has put downward pressure on energy consumption from the business sector. Energy efficiency also put downward pressure on energy consumption of New Zealand businesses.”

In the same time period, residential energy use grew more slowly than the rate of population growth resulting in a less energy intensive residential sector. This drop in energy intensity can be attributed to increased energy efficiency and changes in household behaviour.

“Changes in household behaviour come about when people have good information to make energy efficient choices at home. Campaigns such as EECA’s The Energy Spot are making a real difference, with one in five New Zealanders having taken action as a result of seeing an episode,” EECA’s Chief Executive Mike Underhill said.

The Changes in Energy Use report explores changes in energy use in the three key areas of: business, including primary and manufacturing industries and commercial and public services; residential; and transport.

The new Changes in Energy Use report is available from the Energy publications section of this website. The report will be published annually from 2012.